I will speak plainly. For at times the mind requires a frame for what the heart knows. And I know, as well, that where you are and have been, there is no time. Perhaps you will read this as you wake tomorrow; perhaps your tomorrow will be a decade or a lifetime hence. But it will be here, and the heart has no time.
So this is what I have done for you, altered one of our most sacred rituals.
This is what was required. Ahren, our eldest son, so like you. A man, experienced enough. He was silent and discontent with having to participate with us, but he understood. Like you, he opened his heart to a darkness for which he did not ask.
Avalon. Ah beloved, you named her with such premonition. The Lady of the Lake. My daughter and my heir. And your daughter.
It is she who found her own bridge, by bringing in the power of the community of multiples in which our love was born. For the question was, how could our ritual touch you, who does not believe in our beliefs. Here is the answer we found there: Spiritual atheist. The atheist is fine. The spiritual – there it is, the link. This is what you will need.
But this was my difficulty: If our ritual, designed to alter forever, altered your children beyond recognition, as it did with Dominic, you would despair overmuch. It is a price you would not pay. So that is why Lyria came, to witness. To watch, to explain, and most of all to weep. More on this later.
And of course the sacrifice. Will you have guessed it? Maelynn, of course. Not only is her blood rich, does she know you and is she bonded with Soren, but between you and she there is the death tie. When you donated your talent and your blood to raise her, you forged it. No death may break it: Not hers and not yours.
Was she willing? Mostly. But not entirely; you know her, she is wild. And there was Aden for whom to live. For Aden, we are sorry. It is heavy, the loss of Soren to some extent, and now of his mother. He has Lyria, and we are agreed that the warriors will aid as well. We thought Soren would prefer them to us, because of the history. Likely the little dominatrix will lead, even if she prefers the role of aunt.
Maelynn’s unwillingness is part of what makes it powerful.
To take a life is one of the ultimate powers, overshadowed only, perhaps, by love. But of course, the lesson you yourself taught me, when you were stone with me that we had put Maelynn under the ground: there is another power, its opposite.
You see beloved, this is also why this ritual may find you. It is you who showed me this new use of power.
For the where, we were as close to the shores of our lake as my people might come. Ah, the lake. It bears mentioning. A bond, your spiral, the front door – all these may be blocked, or twisted, or locked. But a lake is another thing, beloved. It is large, natural, landscape. Over our lake of late there is a continual storm…but of course. Ice, from your mountains, meet fire, from mine. It is a disturbance. But the lake will never freeze so long as there is my fire. And beneath the lake, who knows which caverns it touches, what underground terrain there might be?
So you are bound in every way: Our bond, our children, my love, Ahren’s skill, Avalon’s knowledge, Lyria’s heart, Maelynn’s death, our lake.
But there is more, because you are a man, and it is your choice. And it is Avalon again who showed me the way. We cannot force you to life; we cannot make this decision for your system, as much as we would like. Even were there the power, it would remove your will.
So it is in the lake where we will have situated all this for you, where ice may flow to water and water touch ice, where graves may be saturated with rain, where rock is ground to earth beneath waves which seem gentle.
You know not all the details may be shared. I am yet Lynn. But enough: after some religious rites, Ahren brought Maelynn to pleasure with the power that comes from you. I put my arms around Avalon, wrapped my hands around hers which held the knife, and brought them down for the strike. The blood flowed out from the altar and down through the sand — the sand; whyever would you think our relationship merely a handful? — to the water.
I saved a cup of it. A chalice.
And with the power, I am alaha. And I fashion you, of course, something from your mythology, from the basis of your literature and your code of honour and the law of romantic love. An iconic tale from the light.
Of course I forged you a sword, and lay it in the lake.
You have only to take it up to reclaim what is your birthright.
Where you will lead; that is yours. But not this way of death, of shutting in, of breaking words. I give you this power so that you may use it against the bonds and pain of the past which keep you still and silent. I give you what I have that you may choose over time and wisely and well. That you may rise again from the ashes of Camelot to do something new.
You will have heard Lyria weeping, her tears falling.
This is for whom she wept, among others I will not name. She wept for you, so still and so remote. She wept for Lore, who made the choice, for Li who in the end cast his ballot with Lore, and with Lohr, who was required to carry it out. She wept for Lynn and that is enough to say. She wept for Ahren and for Avalon, that they would not have to bring the knife’s edge within themselves. And she wept for Sassy, for the man to take care of us. Camelot lost.
And of course I preserve the cup. The holy grail.
San Graal. Which sits beneath the Storm, which is Sworn to me, beloved. You are sworn to me.
Magdalena’alaha Lynn Stormsworn